Richard Mellon Scaife, patron of the Dark Side of American politics, has a fatal cancer.
Posted by Charles II on May 18, 2014
Richard Mellon Scaife, has an untreatable cancer:
Nothing gives perspective to life so much as death.
Recently, doctors told me I have an untreatable form of cancer.
Some who dislike me may rejoice at this news. Naturally, I can’t share their enthusiasm.
The diagnosis has prompted me to consider my life, the city and region I call home, the country I love, and the many people I have known — especially those who are friends, or whose lives and achievements I respect.
In coming weeks and months, I hope to write about some of these things.
Richard Scaife was responsible for some of the worst of American politics. As Katie Heimer wrote,
The Arkansas Project was created and funded with the sole objective of digging up, and if necessary fabricating, any information that could be used to defame the Clintons and those around them. Over the course of several years, Scaife allocated approximately 2.4 million dollars to the [American] Spectator for sole use in its “investigative” efforts to defame and humiliate Clinton(Lewis), efforts which resulted in the “revelation” (“fabrication” is perhaps more accurate in most cases) of tabloidesque stories such as the “Troopergate” and Whitewater scandals, Paula Jones’ allegations of sexual harassment, and the legitimization and continuation of conspiracy theories about the death of Deputy White House Counsel and close Clinton friend Vince Foster, among others (Phillips).
The “investigative” efforts of those involved in the Arkansas Project eventually led, albeit indirectly, to Clinton’s impeachment in the Monica Lewinsky scandal….
Over the next thirty years, Scaife alone would contribute $200 million to conservative causes (“The Right’s Big Moneyman”). This growth and expansion of
conservative journalism and conservative think tanks, which together formed a cohesive social and political movement, continued throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, bolstered by the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Smear politics, using fabricated accusations, were a staple of Mr. Scaife’s dedication to journalistic principles. Vince Foster committed suicide not just from depression, but because of the unjust accusations that Scaife leveled. Susan McDougal spent years in jail because of Scaife. Julie Hiatt Steele was bankrupted. But the most heart-rending stories are of the ordinary people who didn’t have any status or money to lose. They were ground into the dust for the sole purpose of illegally seizing power away from Bill Clinton, a man who was democratically elected. And, of course, the hypocrisy of Dick Scaife tormenting Bill Clinton for infidelity, exceeds all measure.
There are those who will welcome Mr. Scaife’s illness and impending death. I am not one of them. His pain, if any, relieves none of the pain of his victims. His death, when it occurs, will restore nothing. It will simply remove the context for why this country is so polarized and angry. His illness will will solve nothing. And from Scaife’s tone, it sounds as if he has learned nothing, regrets nothing, and will use him immense fortune simply to destroy more.
Sadly, there are dozens more like him, men (and a few women) with whom God has been extraordinarily generous and patient, to the point that the rest of us are neglected. They continue to pour money into corrupting and perverting the functions of democracy and, like John Moniz, turning Americans from a proud and free people into desperate courtiers.
But I suppose that Scaife’s illness can serve as a teachable moment, when we remember the evil that he did, and that will live on long after his bones are interred and his name forgotten.
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